1. What is MATCH?
MATCH is a 36‑month initiative funded by the European Union (EU) aimed at providing highly skilled talents to private sector companies whose needs for qualified staff cannot be satisfied by the offer available on the EU labour market.
By joining MATCH, companies from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg will be supported with the sourcing and recruiting of African talents from Senegal and Nigeria, two countries offering a surplus of qualified professionals. In addition to the job placements, MATCH will also implement complementary activities such as skills development, capacity building and knowledge sharing between the participating EU and African countries.
2. Which organisations implement the MATCH project?
3. What is the goal of the MATCH project?
- Tackling structural labour shortages experienced on the European labour market due to democratic and socio-economic developments (e.g. aging population, skill mismatch, digitalisation) by tapping into talent pools in Africa.
- Skills development: selected candidates will be offered various trainings organised by the individual companies and employment agencies.
- Knowledge transfer: labour migrants will also be invited to engage in projects in their home country to facilitate skills and knowledge transfer to their communities of origin.
- Peer-to-peer capacity building: MATCH will facilitate the exchange between employer organisations and employment agencies in the four participating EU Member States and their counterparts in Senegal and Nigeria. Employer organisations and employment agencies in Nigeria and Senegal will benefit from capacity building trainings on labour market analysis, matching of labour supply with demand and exploring labour opportunities abroad. This will facilitate the roll-out of future labour mobility schemes benefiting countries of origin and destination alike.
4. What are the focus sectors of the project?
The MATCH project will primarily focus on filling vacancies in the ICT, technology and digitalisation sectors. These are sectors experiencing structural labour shortages and do not require Dutch proficiency. The MATCH project is however also available to support companies active in other sectors.
5. What are the benefits for Dutch companies to join the MATCH project?
The four main benefits for Dutch companies to join the MATCH project include low costs, high quality, flexibility and compliance with CRS standards
- Low cost – The MATCH project enables companies to recruit highly qualified candidates at low cost while complying with high ethical recruitment standards. The MATCH project does not charge any fees for launching a recruitment process. This is a considerable gain for companies given that recruitment fees required by commercial recruitment schemes tend to range between 15 – 20 percent of a candidate’s first annual salary and can go as high as 30 percent for hard-to-fill vacancies.
- High quality – The MATCH project will provide high quality matches of talent through selective advertisement, advanced skill assessment technologies and a network of reputable talent management providers.
- Flexibility – The MATCH project offers flexibility to companies by introducing them to a qualified candidate in a short timeframe. This allows companies to adopt flexible hiring strategies that correspond to their needs and changing market demands. The project also supports the development of distance work arrangements at a time where international mobility is limited due to the COVID–19 pandemic. There is no legal obligation for companies to recruit from the pre-selected candidates if the selected profiles do not meet company talent needs or standards.
- CRS standards – By participating in the MATCH project, companies can invest into the human capital of the young candidates and support skill development through training activities. During work placements, the MATCH project will facilitate candidate engagement with diaspora organisations and candidate participation in projects that support development in Africa. The MATCH project offers an opportunity to promote gender balance as we aim to select a minimum of 30 percent of female candidates.
6. What are the costs and the obligations for companies?
Costs – Following the shortlisting of candidates, companies will bear the cost of their own final selection process (arranging additional tests, face–to–face/virtual interviews, etc.) and relocating successful candidates (e.g. flights, visas). Companies will remunerate candidates in accordance with standards that are imposed by the host country’s national legislation.
Obligations – Companies will sign a letter of commitment which outlines expectations associated with work performance, remuneration, working conditions, training requirements, living conditions, adherence to national legislation and adherence to IOM project conditions. Letters of commitment will be drafted on an individual basis to ensure that personalised expectations are reflected.
7. Is the objective to roll out the MATCH project to other countries?
Within the three-year duration, the MATCH project will only support companies in four EU member states (The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the northern region of Piemonte in Italy) and candidates who are based in the two African countries (Nigeria and Senegal). Possible expansion to other countries will be explored for future phases of the project.
8. What are the expected candidate caseloads?
The aim of the MATCH project is to identify a total of 210 vacancies in the four targeted EU member states and to fill these with candidates from the two African countries. In the Netherlands, the aim is to fill 80 vacancies. Priority will be given to female candidates in order to reach at least 30 percent female participation.
The recruitment of candidates
9. Are there any specific criteria for candidates?
Specific criteria will depend on the requirements of each employer for each vacancy. While the MATCH project facilitates the screening and matching of candidates with the vacancies, ultimately, the selection criteria and subsequent selection of candidates is decided by the employer.
The MATCH project strives to empower women, and special considerations will be granted to uphold a gender balance amongst candidates.
10. How does the recruitment process in Senegal and Nigeria work?
Targeted recruitment will take place in Senegal and Nigeria with the support of reputable networks, recruitment agencies and public institutions. A selection panel will be established in the two African countries with the support of the national employment agency, the Flemish public employment agency, VDAB, and Aldelia. Applications will be screened and a pre-selection will be carried out. A shortlist will be shared with the European employers for their final selection.
11. What talent profiles can we expect from Senegal and Nigeria?
Nigeria and Senegal offer a vast pool of talent and skills. Aldelia’s figures indicate that in Senegal, 80,000 individuals work in the ICT sector, and in Nigeria, 497,000 individuals work in the ICT sector. To request a typical candidate profile associated with a specific job title, contact the MATCH team.
12. Does the MATCH project offer standardised contracts? How do you ensure that candidates are recruited and treated in fair conditions?
The project partnership conducts robust monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the rights of both the employer and candidates are upheld for the full duration participation in the project. Employers are obliged to follow national labour regulations and establish fair employment contracts in line with their national legislation and IOM IRIS principles. National chambers of commerce form part of the wider network of the MATCH project. The preselection of candidates is conducted by a recruitment panel comprising of recruitment experts from within and outside the project partnership. Technical tests will be systematically organised to ensure the selection of candidates with the strongest skills without external interference.
13. How do you ensure that candidates have access to infrastructure needed for remote working?
In order to establish remote working arrangements, it is essential that the local infrastructure is available. An assessment of the necessary infrastructure will be made by the project management team in coordination with the employer and the local employment agency Aldelia. Existing networks within Nigeria and Senegal will also be approached to ensure that candidates have access to the necessary services and technology before employers agree to remote working.
Application process for interested Nigerian and Senegalese candidates
14. How can job seekers in Nigeria and Senegal apply to participate as candidates in the MATCH project?
The MATCH project will pre-select candidates from profiles that are collected by the talent management company Aldelia. The MATCH team cannot accept any unsolicited or individual applications. Instead, job seekers should express their interest directly with Aldelia. An applicant tracking system within Aldelia’s job platform Areebajobs tracks applications for participation in the MATCH project.
Application process for interested Dutch companies
15. How can a Dutch company submit their requests for talent?
Employers are encouraged to contact (email/phone) the project focal points at IOM the Netherlands and NABC to discuss their labour shortages, and to outline necessary skills and profiles to fill their vacancies. Vacancy notices will be drafted in coordination with the employer before they are published.
16. How is the visa process organised, and to which extent are companies involved in this?
There are several legal pathways available under the Dutch immigration law; much depends on the circumstances surrounding the recruitment of the candidate (age, intended salary during work placement, duration of stay, employment conditions, status of employer). Once the company has provided the details of its vacancy, the MATCH team will support companies in identifying the most suitable pathway. The MATCH team works closely together with Migrantic tax and immigration lawyers, to offer Dutch companies the best legal advice. For more information on the different conditions and the types of visas/legal pathways to the Netherlands, please watch the recording of the second webinar on legal pathways and the MATCH project.
17. What is the selection process for talent management companies and recruitment agencies to contribute to the project’s pool of Senegalese and Nigerian talent?
As the project includes a training component for candidates during their placement in Europe, we would be interested to share thoughts with existing talent management companies. Please make sure to reach out to the MATCH team to discuss your proposal.
Response to COVID-19
18. What are some of the measures taken by the MATCH project in response to COVID-19?
The implementation of the MATCH project will fully comply with domestic (and international where applicable) regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote working arrangements are available to Dutch employers and can be coupled with an incubation phase to include measures that foster preparation, upskilling, induction and remote work until physical travel of candidates to the Netherlands is permissible. A range of incubation services are available upon request.
MATCH will also facilitate the recruitment of a limited number of Nigerian and Senegalese nationals who reside in Europe as an interim measure during COVID-related travel restrictions.